The financial services industry has been a little behind the curve on automated speech recognition (ASR) technology. It’s not hard to see why. In the past few years, the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, a swathe of new regulatory regimes, and other market issues have kept the sector busy. Few organisations have had the time or budget to create a compelling business case for the new technology.

However, the time has come for that to change. There has been an industry-wide failure to make significant investment in tech as a whole, meaning that many institutions are trying to deliver new services to customers using outdated practices powered by decades-old infrastructure.

It’s an approach that will no longer pass muster in 2018. ASR technology can revolutionise both financial institutions and the lives of their customers. Below are just a few of the benefits that ASR can deliver.

Significant cost savings through optimisation

The integration of ASR platforms into contact centre operations delivers efficiencies and save money. This is because as customers become more independent by self-serving themselves using automated system – especially ones that legitimately understands their needs – workflows can be optimised and call times reduced. Similarly, because advanced analytics can be applied to call data recorded by these systems, the amount of time spent analysing calls (as part of regulatory requirements, for example) can be done in a fraction of the time and far more comprehensively.

Security as default

ASR systems can capture unique customer voiceprints. These files can be used to authenticate a customer’s identity by comparing their voice with the voice that’s on file. Because the comparison is made against a whole host of different parameters, it’s incredibly difficult for fraudsters to mimic someone’s voice and bypass this system. As a result, automated speech recognition is the most secure verification method currently on the market, and one that can drastically reduce phone fraud.

Compliance is guaranteed

Speech-to-text platforms help financial services institutions comply with regulations such as MiFID II and GDPR. Because the system converts voice into an easily searchable text format, it meets many of the requirements around data storage, discoverability and how shareable this data should be.

It’s good for consumers

It’s frustrating for customers to have to go through tiresome security checks every time they call their bank on the phone. With ASR, the customer’s voice is their password, meaning there’s no need to remember or authenticate numerous login details. Furthermore, speech-to-text solutions can power self-service telephone systems that are more convenient for customers and businesses alike.

Don’t wait – act

ASR isn’t the future of the financial services industry, it’s the present. The benefits are clear: improved efficiencies, reduced costs, guaranteed compliance and delivering a service that delights customers. 2018 is the year that the industry should, as a whole, move towards embracing the technology.

Brian Martin, Regional Director UK&I, Spitch